While we were all disappointed to hear Ben Simmons won’t take part in the upcoming World Cup, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for us Boomers fans.
Ben Simmons is still taking part in two of the biggest games in Australian Basketball history down in Melbourne against Team USA, while also playing in Perth, taking on a tough Canadian team filled with NBA talent.
Simmons has chosen to stay in Philly to prepare for one of the biggest seasons in their franchise history, one in which they’ll enter 2nd favourites to take out the Eastern Conference (Milwaukee just ahead of them).
He was also paid max dollars, 170mill (240+ AUD) over 5 years, to become the richest Australian in the history of sport. You can’t really blame him for wanting to get paid over taking part in the world cup after getting figures like that. Joe Ingles felt the same way, as at the end of the day, you’re an employee of the team first.
The biggest news to come from Simmons pulling out of the World Cup was his desire to still play for the national team, declaring he will be there in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. Most would see the Olympics as the pinnacle of International Basketball (over the world cup), and you can’t really argue against that given the names currently on the sidelines for the upcoming World Cup.
Anthony Davis also pulled out for Team USA, focusing on winning a championship and building a relationship with his new team mates in Laker Land. Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard are also taking the summer off. Curry getting some rest in after playing a lot of Basketball over the last few years, while Leonard moves into his new LA home over the summer.
That’s not to say Team USA is short on talent. It’s an embarrassment of riches when you can say those 3 guys have pulled out, yet you still have the likes of James Harden (MVP Runner up), Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and Bradley Beal just to name a few.
This team won’t battle to light the scoreboard up, Aussie Basketball fans will still be delighted to watch them going around! It’s going to be something special to have such talent on our shores.
But if there’s ever a time for our boys to knock Team USA off their perch, it’s this year. Our roster is full of NBA talent, as well as the potential for a sneaky spot or two for some NBL studs.
Simmons pulling out of the World Cup opens the door for someone like Nathan Sobey, who would’ve been on the fringe of making the roster even with Simmons, to make his move in these exhibition games and really push for a strong rotation spot at the tournament.
Matthew Dellavedova will make way for Simmons in the exhibition games, but will take his place in the starting unit next to Patty Mills come tournament time, knowing how ever reliable and tough he can be.
Joe Ingles, coming off his best NBA season to date, will take his spot at the 3, and will look to have a huge tournament leading into another big year for Utah (who look to be one of the teams on the up out West).
The big man position you can make multiple arguments as to who should start. Baynes and Bogut can start alongside each other if they want to go bully ball big, but I believe it’ll be Jonah Bolden and Baynes starting together, with the likes of Bogut, Motum and Landale leading the way off the bench.
Deng Adel and Mitch Creek would round out the strong 10 man rotation (along with Sobey) and the potential for another NBL piece to round out the squad with the departure of Simmons, and to take a stab at the last spot, Cam Gliddon gets the nod just ahead of Mitch McCarron.
It’s bound to be an incredible month of International Basketball, and there’s no doubt what so ever that our Boomers team has every chance to medal at the worlds with the wealth of NBA Experience we now have.
Bring it on!